Professor`s Guide to Getting Good Grades

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PROFESSORS’ GUIDE TO GETTING
GOOD GRADES IN COLLEGE
Lynn F, Jacobs, Ph.D.,
And
Jeremy S. Hyman, M.A.
“grade-bearing moments”
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1=The start
2=The class
3=The exam
4=The paper
5=The last month
PART 1 THE START
• DISPEL COMMON MYTHS
• LEARN HOW PROFESSORS GRADE
• PICK COURSES WITH AN EYE TO GRADES
10 Common Myths About College
1. It’s bad to be a “grade grubber.”
2. Why get good grades? All I need is a diploma.
3. College is going to be a piece of cake.
4. E is for effort. More effort=a better grade.
5. A is for attendance.
6. If I only kiss up enough…..
7. Grades are 100% subjective.
8. I’ll never good grades. I’m not a good student.
9. The professor could care less what grade I get.
10. The professor will tell me all I need to know to get an
A.
HOW DO PROFESSORS GRADE
ANYWAY?
• Graded against a standard—points, rubrics,
expectations—from the syllabus
– 3 levels
• Basic=B Expectations are met
• Substandard=C, D, or E Expectations not met
• Excellent=A Exceeds expectations
• Rank against other students—”grading on the
curve”
• Who does the grading?
PICKING COURSES WITH
AN EYE TO GRADES
Questions to consider
• Easier or more challenging?
• Easier or killer-grader professor?
• Interesting courses or only fill requirements?
Tips—Use balance*not all hard, not all easy
Take responsibility and control of your
program. Select, don’t settle. Register early
enough to have choices.
PART 2 THE CLASS
• Your action plan for the first week of class
• Tips for taking notes
• Why prepare? Why attend? Why participate?
1ST WEEK ACTION PLAN
• Be there –and be on. This is no time to be on
vacation.
• Decode the syllabus and size up the professor.
• Decide whether to continue the class or find
another.
Lecture notes tips
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Create a document you can use later
Plan to take notes the entire class
Capture the overall structure of the lecture
Use outlines
Make use of verbal and behavior clues
Explain board writing and PowerPoint slides
Look out for definitions and technical terms
Set off examples in your notes
Use the note-taking format that works for you
Take notes for yourself and for keeps
WHY PREPARE?
Preparation is the
major part of the
learning
experience.
WHY ATTEND?
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You can only take notes if you are there.
What to do when you miss class:
Borrow someone else’s notes.
Study the reading to see how the notes fit.
Go see the professor to clarify notes but don’t
ask if you missed anything important.
Resolve not to miss class again.
WHY PARTICIPATE(in SI sections or
study groups)?
• Go to SI meetings and ask questions.
• Discuss information with other students.
• Engage a tutor to explain things you don’t
understand.
• Talk to professors outside of class.
• Make yourself known as a student who is
engaged in the material.
PART 3 THE EXAM
• Spread it out. Start studying about a week before the test.
• Triage your time. Sort and allocate time based on the grade
you are getting.
• What exactly is going to be on the test?
• Find some test examples.
• Gather everything together before you study.
• Review, don’t redo.
• Be active, don’t be a voyeur. Study the main points.
• Complete the task that is asked for.
• Make sure your test preparation advances your learning.
• Make up your own test and take it.
ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARD
TESTS
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DURING THE EXAM:
Don’t be overwhelmed by first impressions.
Determine what the question is really asking.
Make an initial plan of action and time
management.
Craft your essay nicely. Make it as easy for the
grader as you possibly can.
Don’t panic toward the end.
GOING OVER YOUR TEST
• Going over tests will improve your skills.
• Be calm, collected and dispassionate.
• See the professor if you don’t understand the
grading procedure.
WISDOM COMES ONLY THROUGH SUFFERING
…….Greek poet Sophocles
PART 4 THE PAPER
• Understand the assignment
• Understand the assignment
• Understand the assignment
Have someone in the
writing center go over
your final draft.
ANALYSIS AND RESEARCH
• Think through the paper in your head.
• Find relevant information.
• Use electronic databases for research. The library
can help you if you don’t know how.
• Do not plagiarize. Cutting and pasting are not
okay.
• Record your references in the expected style--MLA
or APA.
• Writing only improves with practice.
Going to see the professor about a
paper:
• Don’t be afraid.
• Explore your topic jointly.
• Don’t be combative, conceited, or overly
“honest.”
• Incorporate the results of the meeting into
your own thinking.
PART 5 THE LAST MONTH
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HAZARDS:
Out of gas; fill up your momentum stores.
You have too many balls in the air. Put some
down or learn to juggle.
You’re not getting the grade you want so take
it to the next level. Find out what you can
make up.
You stand a real chance of failing so fish or cut
bait. Make a plan.
ACING THE FINAL
• Improve your study techniques. Start studying
the last week of class.
• Manage your life during finals week. Be
realistic and don’t let down too early.
• Produce an excellent final exam. Give the
grader a chance to give you an A.
• Keep up your stamina, don’t panic too soon,
and as soon as the exam is over, put it to bed!
WHAT DO GRADES MEAN ANYWAY?
What are your
answers?
YOU CAN DO IT!
NOW YOU KNOW
HOW

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